Joss Whedon Gets Crafty

Image from elasticcamels photostream

Image from elasticcamel's photostream

Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and this summer’s web-based hit, Dr. Horrible, was just interviewed by Kim Werker of CrochetMe (transcript found here).  What does Whedon have to say about crafting?  Aside from setting us straight on whether Captain Hammer’s sweater vests are knitted or crocheted, Whedon speculates on the parallels between the DIY craft community and the DIY media community:

KW: I read a quote recently, in an article about the resurging DIY movement, that we’re “crafting to claim identity, to save the world from soulless junk.” Do you see any parallels in people’s approach to internet-based video productions versus the big-media productions for television and movies and how people are really taking those media into their own hands right now?

JW: Absolutely. I mean, let’s face it, in the media there are now eight companies. In any mall you walk into, there are now eight stores: there’s gonna be a Gap, there’s gonna be a Banana Republic. Everything is becoming consolidated, so where there used to be lots of variety, there are now, like, ten giants and tons of tiny little villagers. And yeah, the villagers are going to start making their own stuff because the materials will be available to all of them, and we can’t all just do things the way the giants want, because it does seep something out of your soul. I think it’s absolutely true on every level of art that this is the worst of times and, like some guy might have said once, the best of times.

I find this to be profoundly true.  Everywhere I turn, I see that massive consolidation.  Whether it’s NBC putting Jay Leno in a spot typically reserved for innovative dramas, or the CW potentially creating a Gossip Girl spinoff because it is less risky than shooting a pilot for a new show.  Then again, I also see people figuring out how to entertain themselves with projects like Odd Noggin Land – in which the creators actually made giant heads shaped like ketchup and fries.  DIY projects are inefficient, they are often messy, and they probably appeal to a small number of people.  But the result often has a depth of character and breadth of experimentation that’s absent from a product brought into being by a corporation.  That’s true whether you’re knitting a hat or making a movie in your backyard.

Like the man said:  “You have to remember that if the thing isn’t slightly out of control, it ain’t art.”